Britons warned over cold week ahead

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Two quick-thinking special constables pulled a woman from the freezing River Aire in Leeds last night, as Britons were warned to settle in for a cold week.

Severe yellow weather warnings for snow and icy conditions remained in place across large swathes of the country this afternoon, in areas including the Highlands and Eilean Siar, Grampian, Strathclyde, south-west Scotland and the Lothian Borders, and the Central, Tayside and Fife region.

Ice warnings also extended across Northern Ireland and parts of England.

The Met Office’s operational forecaster Calum MacColl told the Press Association that the mercury plunged to minus 6.5C (20F) overnight at Drumnadrochit, on the west shore of Loch Ness.

“This coming night we certainly could see some worse temperatures in those parts,” he said.

But the coldest is expected to come on Sunday night and early Monday morning, when temperatures in the Highlands could drop as low as minus 10C (14F) or minus 15C (5F).

“As we lead our way into the coming days again, we’ve got snow warnings out for much of northern and eastern Scotland,” he said, adding that the chance of snow was especially high in areas above the 200m (656ft) mark.

There may also be showers in Northern Ireland and north-west England, Mr MacColl said.

“It’s going to be a pretty cold week all in all,” he said.

The warning comes after two special constables in Leeds rushed to pull a woman to safety after she fell into the freezing River Aire.

Special constables Mark Spedding and Richard Johnson were working in Leeds city centre when they heard what had happened shortly before midnight.

The pair, along with door staff from nearby, were able to pull the 22-year-old woman to safety and she was taken to hospital where she was checked and found to have sustained no serious injury.

Senior Section Officer Mr Spedding said: ”It was a very cold night and the water was absolutely freezing. When we arrived the woman had already been in the river for a number of minutes and we had to act fast.

”Fortunately, and with the assistance of a nearby doorman, Richard and I were able to pull the woman to safety.

”The satisfaction of being able to help people in these type of situations is the reason why I volunteer my time as a special constable and I’m just pleased we were able to help.”

Superintendent Sam Millar, from Leeds District Police, praised the actions of the rescuers for their “quick thinking and commitment” in preventing a tragedy.

”The actions of the two special constables, who volunteer their free time to work as police officers, epitomises the values of officers and staff who put themselves in dangerous situations to help other people and protect members of the public.”

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